ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right
to an adequate standard of living, Miloon Kothari*
* The present report is submitted late so as to include as much up-to-date information as possible.
Consistent with the Special Rapporteur’s thematic approach to adequate housing, this year’s report to the Commission focuses on homelessness and its causes and impacts, including on women, children, youth, indigenous peoples and people living with mental illness, from a human rights perspective. Homelessness is perhaps the most visible and most severe symptom of the lack of respect for the right to adequate housing. The matter necessitates an examination of a range of issues related to adequate housing, such as the impacts of globalization, privatization of essential services, conflict situations and poverty, as well as the role of gender discrimination and other factors that are linked to vulnerability to homelessness. It requires an analytical approach that places security of tenure, security of the home, and security of the person at the core.
III. DRIVING FORCES BEHIND HOMELESSNESS
C. Homelessness as a result of conflict situations
36. Demolition of homes and destruction of property, including land and crops, is not always merely an indirect result of conflict. Housing and land have increasingly become strategic targets. The Special Rapporteur has repeatedly expressed his concern about the demolition of Palestinian houses and other buildings and the confiscation of Palestinian land becoming a common and widespread measure used by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories (see E/CN.4/2003/5/Add.1). These acts have left thousands of residents homeless and have harmed the livelihood of thousands more. During 2004, Israel is reported to have demolished 181 homes in the Occupied Territories as a means of punishment and 1,357 homes on the claim of military necessity. These demolitions left an estimated 11,500 Palestinians homeless. Since 1987, Israel is reported to have demolished 4,100 homes, rendering an estimated 28,000 Palestinians homeless. 17
17 B’Tselem, B’Tselem’s 2004 Summary Statistics (http://www.btselem.org/english/statistics/20043112_2004_statistics.asp) and Planning and Building (http://www.btselem.org/english/Planning_and_Building/Index.asp).